A few weeks ago, I posted this scripture on my facebook page: Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (NASB) I posted that because I felt there was a lot of negativity around me, and it was making me crazy. It was also making me cranky.
As someone who has overcome anxiety issues, I am very sensitive to the physical effects of anxiety. It all starts with negativity. I have formed a habit of not allowing my thoughts to spiral into the negative. I might dip my toe there, which is more than I should do, but it’s just too uncomfortable for me to stay there.
There are so many Bible verses about being joyful, trusting in the Lord, and not being anxious. When God repeats Himself on a topic, you can be assured it’s important.
Lately, I’ve had that song in my head “Accentuate the Positive, eliminate the negative, hold on to the affirmative. Don’t mess with Mr. In-between.” Try getting that out of your head now.
I started thinking about how that song is consistent with the Bible, so I looked up the lyrics online. It has been recorded quite a few times! Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Johnny Mercer, to name a few. I can understand; it’s pretty catchy. But, I was surprised to find that the song references Bible stories and starts off as a sermon. Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics. Excerpts from Lyric Depot:
Gather ’round me, everybody
Gather ’round me while I’m preachin’
Feel a sermon comin’ on me
The topic will be sin and that’s what I’m ag’in’
If you wanna hear my story
Then settle back and just sit tight
While I start reviewin’
The attitude of doin’ right
You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium’s
Liable to walk upon the scene
To illustrate my last remark
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do just when everything looked so dark?
(Man, they said “We’d better accentuate the positive”)
(“Eliminate the negative”)
(“And latch on to the affirmative”)
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between (No!)
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between
Something my old boss used to say to me when I would complain, “There must be something you like about it or you would change it.” To be fair, there are circumstances beyond our control sometimes, but that comment shut my complaining down immediately. Complaining and gossiping do not work toward bringing gloom down to the minimum.
While my journey to recovery from an anxiety disorder did not start with the Bible (although it should have), it did start with accentuating the positive. My negative thoughts were largely turned toward myself. As my faith has grown, I’ve learned that, while being humble is something God definitely values, we also need to remember how much God loves us and that we have worth.
So, the next time you feel the urge to focus on the negative, think of this song. Once you think of it, you’ll have a hard time thinking of anything else! Or remember any number of Bible verses, such as 1 Thessalonians 5:16 “Always be Joyful.” I want to be reminded of this so much, I made a plaque of it and hung it on the wall.